How film-making can support the development of the social communication skills of autistic children
This study investigates how the process of film-making can be used to support the
development of social communication in autistic children. The research has its basis in the researcher's own film-makign practice, and was conducted in two stages. In Stage One, the researcher delivered film-making
activities with groups of autistic children in an out-of-school environment. He
identified some types of social engagement that took place during these activities,
and the techniques used to deliver the activities. The methods used to make the
films during the Stage One activities informed Stage Two, in which the researcher
investigated the work of another practitioner, who was working in a school-based
setting with two pupils working as a pair. The analysis of the data gathered from
Stage Two resulted in two things; firstly, that the film-making process was separated
into a set of sub-processes; secondly, using the person-centred educational
framework of SCERTS®, instances of social communication that took place during
each sub-process were identified. What the research found was that several types
of social communication took place during the film-making activities, which changed
depending on what the pupils were doing.
Overall, this research demonstrates that film-making provides autistic children with a screen-based, creative activity that can help to develop their spontaneous social communication and that, providing the right conditions are present, the film-making environment can be a safe communicative space for them.